Stories of Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery may be more than cosmetic changes and can have important psychosocial and medical functions.
Most plastic surgery is medically necessary to improve health. The surgeries may have important cosmetic secondary effects as well. The surgery to correct an imperfect jaw can improve the patient’s jaw function and ability to breathe while also radically improving their appearance.
Craniofacial surgery treats children with cleft lips and cleft palates as well as rare congenital anomalies. Cleft palates and cleft lips affect not only appearance but the ability to eat and often cause ear infections or hearing loss in addition to dental problems. Extreme social development and emotional problems are very common with these correctable defects.
Some people are born with a deviated septum. This malformation of the nasal passages can cause breathing problems, frequent sinus infections, and heavy snoring. The surgery to correct the septum is often accompanied by a cosmetic component to ensure the nose looks correct after the operation.
Many important plastic surgeries repair injuries due to car accidents, animal bites, or other traumatic incidents. In addition to restoring appearance, the surgery is necessary to restore functioning.
Breast reduction is medically necessary when the breasts are not proportionate to a person’s body. Disproportionally large breasts often cause physical strain to the back resulting in back problems and shoulder pain. Breast reconstruction is very important to many women who have undergone a mastectomy for cancer prevention or to remove a tumor.
No plastic surgery comes without risks
- Between one and six percent of breast augmentation surgeries and facelifts result in hematomas which may require additional surgery to correct.
- Many kinds of plastic surgery can cause nerve damage that causes numbness or tingling.
- Most women who have breast surgery experience loss of sensitivity in the breast, and about 15 percent permanently loose nipple sensation.
- Surgical procedures include steps to reduce the risk of infection, but infection remains one of the more common complications of plastic surgery.
- Skin infections occur in two to four percent of patients. However, internal infections can also occur and require intravenous antibiotics.
- Although rare, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) may form in deep veins causing pulmonary embolisms.
- Scarring which spoils the effect of cosmetic surgery occurs in two to five percent of breast augmentations.
- Liposuction can cause visceral perforations or punctures in internal organs.
- Blood loss during surgery can lead to a serious drop in blood pressure. Bleeding can happen on the operating table or after surgery.
In a small survey of attitudes about plastic surgery, most people had no definitive opinion but say, “it depends.” Three times more people say they are generally in favor of it than against it entirely. The discussion often focuses on the definition of ugliness and how disfigured someone should appear before plastic surgery is warranted.
The general conception of plastic surgery centers around microsurgery quick fixes. These include injections of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and botox to reduce wrinkles, enhance lips, and improve noses. These procedures can be costly in themselves and can result in bizarre side effects, like noses going out of shape and wounds getting inflamed. South Koreans are well known for engaging in face fixes. Two percent of South Koreans and one percent of Americans go through at least 20 plastic surgeries per year.
Patients who go through cosmetic procedures can praise the results and how they affect their lives. One patient whose nose was very slightly less than ideal was “self-conscious” about it. The surgery made her nose noticeably smaller with the classic dainty curve. She now says the results are “priceless.” Another patient who had a blepharoplasty procedure which brought about a subtle change in the shape of the eyebrow says that it “gave her the confidence to mingle” and that “something inside has been nourished and is happier.”
In some cases, rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty can be medically important to improve function. Skin folds over the eyes, corrected by a blepharoplasty procedure, can improve vision and ability to close the eyes.
Plastic surgery of this kind seems to affect “something inside” as much as it improves the external appearance. The professional instinct to devote a medical practice appears to stem as much from an artistic drive as from a scientific one.
Often the health issues brought about plastic surgery are due to simple bad taste. Both on the part of patients and the permissiveness of surgeons.
One patient, an actress, believed she was being held back professionally because of her breasts. She decided to get breast implants. After the procedure, she felt that her breasts looked too big. The doctor removed part of the implant to please her. However, within six months the implants had begun to sink through the mesh. Her only desire was to get the doctor to remove the implant entirely.
Sometimes plastic surgery turns into body modification. One patient’s desire was what she called “bimbofication.” She sought a Brazilian butt lift and a rib removal to shrink her waist. In the process of enlarging her breast with 650 ccs of saline, this patient developed an infection. She says her right breast is now “much harder than the other one.” The doctor stopped short of the patient’s desire to sew her fingers together to create a “doll hand.”
A male patient has undergone 51 different surgeries and 105 aesthetic treatments at a total cost of $465,000. The rhinoplasty surgeries reduced his nostril size so much that he can no longer breath through his nose.
Another male patient has had two years of regular lip injections. And still wants his lips to be bigger. He says his desire for big lips came from his childhood obsession with dolls, “I’ve always wanted to look like that.” As a result of his treatments, the man is now suffering from “lip incompetence.” He can no longer close his lips.
The tribal practice of modifying the body has been creeping into modern Western culture for decades. In the past, the marking of the body with piercings and tattoos has been used to show manhood, pain tolerance, and spirituality. In today’s Western societies, comic books and music videos often inspire body modifications. Usually, ambitious tattoo artists make these modifications, not medical surgeons.
Why OBP Medical?
OBP Medical has pioneered numerous medical advances focused on reducing the risks of plastic surgery. These include the breakthrough single-use LED lighting technology in our ER-SPEC, OfficeSPEC, ONETRAC, SURE-SCOPE, and ANOSPEC lines of single-use self-contained illuminating devices. Please contact us to learn more.